LeAnne Bianchine left speechless on Senior Night
Shelton High girls volleyball coach LeAnne Bianchine was busy prior to her team’s match with Wilbur Cross on Monday night.
After all it was Senior Night. Flowers for her six seniors and the upperclassmen on the Governors squad had to be taken care of, and the parents made aware of when to join their daughters on the court.
So when SHS Athletic Director John Niski finished announcing all the seniors and photos were taken, Bianchine turned toward the Wilbur Cross bench area and thanked them for their patience.
However, the scoreboard clock wasn’t ready to countdown the warm-up minutes needed for play to resume.
Niski had one more person he needed to take center court.
“I was stunned...I had no idea,” Bianchine said about the Shelton High community getting together to recognize her 20th season at the helm of the volleyball program. “Lindsay (assistant coach Lindsay Wheeler) poked me and pointed toward the court and said 'Do you know who they are?'
"It was such a great moment. To have my family, friends and all those people come out...Well, as you can see, it really touched me.
"I want to thank Sheila Casinelli and everyone for thinking of me — and keeping it a secret.
Bianchine was a three-sport athlete at Shelton High, playing volleyball for Kim (Marr) Karkut, basketball for Howie Gura and softball for Anthony Piccolo.
“I’m a combination of all my coaches, my assistants and the players I’ve been with,” she said. “I’ve always considered coming here (to practices or games) as being with my family.”
While the expressive Bianchine admitted she was left a little speechless by all the hoopla, she recovered quickly when asked about her six seniors — Emily Renkowsky, Grace Boles, Lily Boles, Rachel Hansen, Kasidy Quiles and Julia Jacob.
“This a great group, they all bring something to the court and to the practices,” Bianchine said.
“Emily was injured in the second game and did all she could to get back on the court. She practiced well and we got her back into a match, but her knee (ACL) wasn’t ready. She is a great captain with Grace and Lily. The important thing is for her to be ready in time for softball season.
“Grace and Lily are cut from the same cloth. I call Grace G-1. She is so consistent in everything she does. Lily is just as well balanced a player. When Sara (DeMarco) was out two weeks ago, Lily stepped in for us as a libero. They both play with such heart and pride.
“Rachel is an outside hitter, who plays every serve to the whistle. She is also the team kidder and keeps us loose, which we always need.
“Kasidy is always ready when we need her. An outside hitter, we moved her to the middle tonight and she came up with some big plays.
“Julia is all about intensity. She is leading the team every match however she can. Tonight, Julia also went to the middle from her outside position and then back outside.”